The first, organized in partnership with European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) (EUMETSAT) and the WMO Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS) Virtual Laboratory for Training and Education in Satellite Meteorology (VLab), was held from February to May 2014. It attracted some 40 participants primarily from Africa and developed the training skills outlined in the newly defined WMO Competencies for Training Providers, with an additional focus on skills for online distance learning.
The Online Course is a completely asynchronous event, utilizing online resources, collaborative learning activities and discussion forums for exploring and reflecting on the content. However, distance proved no barrier to participation in the first course. Though some participants had to be resourceful to maintain their online connections, all engaged in the 20 individual learning activities and the forums received over 15 000 visits. Thirty-five successfully completed the course’s core assignment – the production of a multi-step Training Development Plan (TDP) that was part of the final assessment, earning their Certification of Completion.
Following the first Online Course, 21 of the participants from Africa and 2 from Europe came together in Casablanca, Morocco with 9 facilitators to attend a one-week WMO Training Development Workshop. As a condition of attendance, each participant’s TDP had to be endorsed by the institution, country or region to which they belonged. The aim of the Workshop was the substantive elaboration, through teamwork, of their TDPs for the delivery of an online course in the near future. This practical phase offered the opportunity to further apply what was learned in the Online Course. The facilitators worked with the teams, brainstorming ideas and demonstrating various training techniques. But the teams also worked on their own, showing much ingenuity. By Friday, each team had made substantial progress – some plans underwent major redesigns, while others left the workshop with finished, or draft, training resources.
The 2015 Online Course for Trainers began on 16 February and offers three overlapping learning tracks: the longest is for full-time trainers, and two slightly shorter versions are for training managers and part-time trainers or subject matter experts. The course will run through to 31 May and will be followed by a Course Development Workshop in Warsaw, Poland, in early October.